Fear is okay, anxiety is okay.
I received an important email the other day from a client asking me about my own personal experiences with anxiety and fear. After receiving this email, I felt it was crucial for me to answer this question in public for many readers out there.
(Client has given me permission to use email)
When I received this email, I felt somewhat saddened. For me to have portrayed myself as a human being without occasionally experiencing anxiety, or fear is something unimaginable.
My dear friends, if you are pondering this same question, please know this:
Fear is part of life.
And in many cases, anxiety can be part of life, too. This is the truth. We have this incredible system built within us called the fight-or-flight system that is in charge of excreting chemicals and hormones out when we are in possible "danger". Fear is an important and crucial role, and it's built in us for "survival". Anxiety on the other hand, is when fear has become more heightened and/or when the fear has become more chronic. Anxiety can come in states of physical and mental sensations, but can come about when we are going through different periods of our life.
There are many situations in our life that can and will bring up sensations of fear and/or anxiety. If you're a highly sensitive person or a child of an alcoholic then you will most likely be prone to feeling more intense feelings than others. You may be more sensitive to changes in your life, experiences, commitments, and sensations, and that's okay, that's a beautiful part of who you are!
Now why do I say all of this?
I say this because I know how much judgement, blame and shame can come about when we feel as though we're STILL not THERE yet.
When we're STILL experiencing fear, or anxiety, or we're getting obsessive, then shame starts to rear its head and we start feeling as though there is something deeply, inherently wrong with us.
The truth is this:
I still experience fear...
I sometimes get anxious...
Why? Because I'm human, and not only that... I feel a lot, am an empath, which means I feel intense emotions... am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and am also an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic).
I experience fear on certain occasions, and in many situations, I expect fear to be there. I expect fear in my life because I know it's part of being human, and I know I wouldn't be a human being without these complex, sometimes difficult emotions. I expect fear to be there when I go through changes (moving, quitting a job, starting a new job, committing more deeply with a friend, committing deeply with my fiance, getting married, moving in with my fiance, or even starting something new). I expect fear when there's deep commitment, I expect fear when I'm starting something new and BIG, and I expect fear when there's deep love.
Because whatever I'm going into that's new (whether it's a new job, a new move, or a marriage) = vulnerability, it's unknown, and uncertain. There's lack of control. The brain doesn't know what will happen. Behind each vulnerable experience is the chance of loss, abandonment, failure or rejection; these are what the psyche and ego want to protect you from experiencing.
But the difference is this...
I do not let anxiety or fear consume me.
I used to be debilitated by it anxiety and fear.
I was tormented by it... to the point where I wouldn't be able to move out of bed or leave my house
But, I have learned and continue to learn this... I have learned to welcome fear, instead of resist it and put myself down for it...
Because I have learned these tools, I do not experience debilitating obsessive, compulsive behaviors anymore. I do not have bouts of obsessions that consume me and paralyze me. I have learned to move through them, and have learned to overcome them.
So, my dear friends:
If you're experiencing fear today, or in this moment... if you're feeling anxious, see if you can pause for a moment and take a nice deep breath, in and out.
And remind yourself of this:
Experiencing fear and anxiety is sometimes part of life.
If you are experiencing it, it doesn't mean you've failed.
It doesn't mean you're doing anything "wrong".
Perhaps... in reality.
You're doing something right.
You're stepping into the unknown, into uncertainty, into something vulnerable.
You're stepping into another layer of yourself, a layer requiring change, transition and evolution.
And perhaps this fear and anxiety is arising because there is change... and this change is guiding you into a new, more wiser, stronger, empowered version of you